William Bryan Jr. will be the attorney for the city of Myrtle Beach.

The city council voted unanimously to hire Bryan on Tuesday. He will take over the post on May 23. Bryan’s pay will be $150,000 annually.

Tom Ellenburg has been the city attorney since May 1, 2000. His salary is $150,462 and has said he plans on retiring.

“I’ve never been a city attorney,” Bryan said Tuesday. “In my current practice, I have lost of clients. As city attorney, I’ll have essentially one client comprised of the council and the mayor. I guess I won’t have as many clients but I’ll probably have more cases to manage.”

Bryan has been the partner in charge of the Collins & Lacy law firm Grand Strand office.

He said his work has centered on civil defense but he has no municipal law experience.

Bryan added he has defended the city in some “slip and fall cases.” He said he has represented the city in both state and federal court.

“It will be totally different,” he said turning to the council dais. “The city is entering a new era and I’m excited.”

The city received 10 applications for the post and the council interviewed four candidates. The candidates were Bryan, state Rep. Alan Clemmons, Alicia E. Thompson of Burr Forman McNair, and assistant city attorney Joi Y. Page.

“This was a very difficult decision,” Mayor Brenda Bethune said. “Replacing someone like Mr. Ellenburg is a very difficult decision. I want everyone to be assured that this was a lot of due diligence went into this.”

Janet Morgan is the editor of the Myrtle Beach Herald. Contact her at 843-488-7258 or at janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com.

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